Event / Project details

Project start
15 Jul 2013
Event / Project end

Event / Project duration
This project is ongoing

Event / Project ID

Event / Project Name
Event / Project City
Event / Project Country
South Africa
Preferred skills
No qualifications needed, just a good dose of enthusiasm!
Number of volunteers

Minimum age

Event / Project types
Child welfare and Education

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Brief overview


Want to do something really worthwhile? Teach disadvantaged children in township schools in a beautiful resort town. You'll work with underprivileged communities who really appreciate your help. You can choose to work with primary or secondary schools.

"I'm absolutely loving South Africa. Knysna is much bigger and much more lively than I ever imagined, and the schools are much more friendly and receptive than I dreamed possible. I couldn't have asked for more support or a more beautiful place to live in." Gill Taylor


Start Dates

All year round (subject to school terms) - you choose your start and finish dates!


From 1 week and up to 1 year, subject to visa requirements


No qualifications needed, just a good dose of enthusiasm!


From £795 for 1 week, ranging to £3,095 for 12 weeks. 
Full Price List and other Currencies

What's included

►Accommodation ►Food ►Meeting you at the Airport ►Transfer to your accommodation►Full pre-departure support ►Local in-country team support and backup ►24-hr emergency support ►Free T-shirt

What's not included

Flights, Insurance, Cost of Visas (if a visa is required, but we'll provide necessary documents and assistance), Return transfer to airport.

Who can do this Project?

All our projects are open to all nationalities. 
Unless otherwise stated, you need to be aged between 17 and 70+

Our teaching programme is in the beautiful Western Cape’s Garden Route are situated in Knysna. The schools cater for many children from the poorer township community. Your help and support are appreciated by everyone, but mostly by the children! Our programme has been running in this region for many years and the impact our volunteers have had is amazing. Many of them return again and again. The result is a community that has benefited tremendously since we started.

Standards in the schools are generally very high, but materials and resources may be scarce. Even with the lack of facilities, etc., the enthusiasm of the students and staff at the schools more than make up for this. The children have a fantastic energy about them and you will be immediately welcomed in by hoards of children running up to greet the new teacher. It is often difficult to stop them smiling!


  • An exciting, never-to-be-forgotten adventure into Africa and the many diverse cultures in South Africa
  • The enormous satisfaction of helping disadvantaged children and knowing that you made a difference to them.
  • New skills, more confidence, a greater understanding of a different culture, invaluable personal and professional development.
  • An entry on your CV or résumé that will put you head and shoulders above most others in the job market
  • And best of all ... an unforgettable experience!

You'll normally begin your placement by assisting the teachers but, depending on your ability, you may progress on to being given complete control of a particular class or group. You'll receive a lot of help and support from the teachers and staff at the schools, but you should be prepared to use your own initiative and ask when you need something. The average class size ranges from 15 to a manageable 40.

The best way to describe this project is to let one of our previous volunteers tell you about it in her own words.Felicity du Pulford taught at Sunridge Primary, and this is how she describes a typical day on her project (but please note that this is only one school and that work in other schools may vary slightly):

We didn't anticipate how much there would be to do in Knysna, so our only worry is fitting it all in. Last week, after meeting all the other guys, we went out on Friday which was lovely. Pauline gave us a tour drive around Knysna, so we got to see the beautiful views of the lagoon and town.

Our headmaster at Sunridge, Mr Solomons, is so approachable and welcoming. It’s difficult to describe just how welcome the children make us feel, the atmosphere at the school is just so happy, the teachers so willing to help and we just seem to have slotted into place.

We have been to both the soup kitchen and the orphanage. Lewis and I are keen to go to both as much as possible, and love getting to know the kids. We're going to be very muscly by the end of the month though - all of them want picking up and swinging around all the time!

Knysna has absolutely everything we could want or need, and we are being well looked after by Pauline. We're just starting to regret that we are only here for a month!


You will normally be asked to stand up in front of a class and teach conversational English - you are not expected to be an expert on grammar or literature. The important thing is to help people speak English. You may also be asked to help with other subjects but this is optional and it is only if you feel confident. 

The teaching Suggestions Booklet which we provide you with has ideas for teaching English and will also help structuring lessons in other subjects. Video facilities are available in some schools and audio equipment is quite commonplace.
You will most likely teach in more than one school. Most of the schools are State schools, both secondary and primary. You will generally be asked to help out with any age groups. You are, in fact, very likely to be in popular demand everywhere - in and out of the classroom.
Please visit these links for further details on other subjects that you can teach in Knysna: 

Teaching Drama & Music
Coaching Sports
Teaching Design Technology



The famous Garden Route stretches along the warm Indian Ocean with natural splendors ranging from exotic white beaches to ancient indigenous forests, home to monkeys, buck and leopard and the elusive forest elephants. The Garden Route is famous for all sorts of activities from adrenalin sports such as bungee jumping, skydiving and shark cage diving, to more relaxed pursuits like hiking, quad biking in the forest or visiting one of the many animal sanctuaries in the area. Our local staff will be happy to assist you in finding interesting things to do and places to see, so make the most of it!

Knysna is approximately 500km from the beautiful capital city of Cape Town, voted South Africa’s favourite town 4 years in a row! Its mountainous backdrop, impressively sized estuary and indigenous forests really give the town a natural feel to it. Although it still has that ‘small-town’ feel, Knysna is growing rapidly, and has all the amenities you could ask for, such as banks, hotels, internet café’s, pubs, restaurants, clubs, cinemas and shopping malls.

'I've just had a great time, thanks so much for helping me be a part of life here in Knysna. The kids really are great and they are so excited to learn. The memory of them performing "I'm going on a bear hunt" will stay with me forever as will their pride as they declared that they were the "mighty Thembelitsha!" Mary Stokes

The town of Knysna is just 20-30 minutes drive away from Plettenberg Bay (better known simply as Plett)Plett is a bit smaller than Knysna, but equally stunning.  It's pure white beaches stretch as far as the eye can see and there is a lot to do, from whale and dolphin watching, to hiking trails and awesome nightlife.

Another fascinating and rural town close to Knysna is George. George is much larger than both Knysna and Plettenberg Bay put together and has more of a city feel to it. The town lies comfortably nestled at the foot of the picturesque Outeniqua Mountain Range.

SCHOOL TERMS IN SOUTH AFRICA: Dates for the 2013 school terms (semesters) are given below.

  • Term 1: 16 January – 28 March
  • Term 2: 8 April – 21 June
  • Term 3: 15 July – 20 September
  • Term 4:  1 October – 4 December

Dates for the 2014 school terms (semesters) are as follows.

  • Term 1: 15 January – 28 March
  • Term 2: 7 April – 27 June
  • Term 3: 21 July – 3 October
  • Term 4:  13 October – 10 December

Generally the last week before terms end is given to exams and tests.  This means that you will generally find your work load dropping during this week and you will usually find more free time than normal school time.   

Please see a list of public (bank) holidays for 2014 at
Please see a list of public (bank) holidays for 2013 at

This project is NOT available during school holidays. Therefore, please compare the above school term dates to the dates of your placement. If a holiday falls during your placement, you should use this time to do any independent travelling and sightseeing.

Nervous about going somewhere new? Or about teaching? Read Adrian Tate's description of his arrival in South Africa to teach Sports



  • 3-DAY, 5-DAY, 6 DAY OR 7-DAY SAFARIS: from Cape Town up the renowned Garden Route: taking in Dolphin and Whale Spotting, visits to many tourist attractions, such as a visit to a brewery(!), the Bloukrantz Bungy Jump (reportedly the highest in the world), and a guided tour of the Cango Caves.
  • 1 WEEK WHALES, SHARKS AND DOLPHINS Project: This is an extraordinary and exciting project in a beautiful location, surrounded by white beaches and blue ocean. And two hours from the world's third favourite city - Cape Town. What more could anyone want?


As an added bonus and extra activity during your project, you may also have the opportunity to provide help and support to the local community through the various afternoon activities we have to offer. This is an excellent way to immerse yourself in the African culture, but most importantly to give a caring hand to the local community. The activities could range from helping out at;

  • The Soup Kitchen - Help out at the local soup kitchen which provides meals to the local underprivileged community.
  • After-school drama or sports - Take some time out after school to set up after school sports or drama clubs, the children love it and it's a great way to get to know them better in a relaxed and fun environment (If you'd like to set up a drama or sports club, please let us know when you apply so that we can arrange it with the school before you arrive.)
  • Other community projects  - In the past volunteers have helped to paint the outside of a crèche that was in desperate need of a lift. The crèche is now looking very cheerful with brightly coloured walls. A jungle gym was donated to this orphanage and volunteers also helped to put it together for the crèche too! There may be other similar projects available at the time you're there that you might want to participate in.

You could be part of these excellent and worthwhile projects ... so why not volunteer in Knysna!

Your Travellers Project Co-ordinator on the Placement:
Once you apply for this placement, all your arrangements will be taken care of by Jim Morel, a South African who has been with Travellers for more years than we care to count! J Travellers Project Co-ordinator for South Africa. He'll liaise with you to discuss your needs and will be able to answer all your questions. Once you're in South Africa, you'll be well looked after by our South African team, but Jim will remain in touch with you throughout your stay.


Our volunteer house in Knysna is within walking distance from the town yet set against a natural green belt. The bird life is prolific and often the local Vervet monkey troop comes to visit to entertain the volunteers with their antics. The sunset views from the top balcony of the volunteer house of the Knysna lagoon are nothing short of stupendous and a great way to relax after a day working at your placement or to catch up on your tan in the summer. Keep your eye out for the elusive Knysna Loerie, a spectacular bird of greens, reds and blue, that can sometimes be spotted in the lush garden of the volunteer house.

The house itself is large and spacious with two sleeping areas and even a downstairs flat for couples and family volunteer placements. The bedding in the two same sex dorms and the towels in their ensuite bathrooms are changed regularly every Friday by our much loved cleaner, Pretty, and there is plenty of cupboard space to store your clothing. For personal items and valuables we have also supplied lockers and there is a safe in the Volunteer Liaison’s office which is situated onsite in the house. Free Wi-Fi is on offer for you to keep in contact with friends and family via social media, Skype and email if you have a Wi-Fi-enabled device. 

There is an outside courtyard in the secure grounds where you can partake in a typical South African barbeque known there as a ‘braai’. Make sure you try the local spicy sausage known as ‘boerewors’ and the Karoo lamb chops are to die for on a ‘braai’ but if fish is more to your tasting then a fish ‘braai’ with South African ‘snoek’ is a must. If the weather is cooler then relaxing in front of the TV with a good DVD is also an option. 

FOOD: You'll be given a food budget which will cover your basic essentials but not extras like alcohol, snacks and eating out.The kitchen has all the cooking amenities that you might need to take advantage of preparing meals with some of the great seafood, meat, fresh fruit and vegetables South Africa has to offer. There are plenty of excellent restaurants within walking distance that offer the most incredible local and international cuisine which our volunteers have raved about. Knysna is also famous for its oysters and many of the restaurants serve this delicacy fresh with lemon, Tabasco sauce and cracked pepper. Definitely worth trying if you have an adventurous palate! 

On Arrival, your Introduction to the Country: When you arrive you will be welcomed by a member of our South African staff who will take you to your accommodation and introduce you to everyone. During your first few days you'll be given an induction so that you can learn about the country and its culture, as well as other useful information, like how to use the transport system, banks, safety issues, tipping, and lots more.

"The area is beautiful and travelling is easy. The house we stay in is lovely and the Travellers workers are such kind, loving people which really makes it feel like a home away from home. What with all the other volunteers and the Travellers staff, it really does feel like our own little family ... well, our own very big family, I suppose!!" Luke Brennan

Be inspired by one volunteers story of her time in South Africa and the subsequent links she developed when she was back home. Sarah Cowan's heart warming story


To read about Travel arrangements and what happens when you arrive in your new country, please click here.

Support & Backup: To read about the excellent Support & Backup we provide before you leave and during your programme, please click here.


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